‘Single Pot stills’ are a novelty known exclusively to be Irish- over eighty percent of whiskey in the 1800s being produced this way. However, by the mid 20th century only a handful were left standing – thanks to a plague of taxes, revolutions, the two world wars and a decade of prohibition.
The Scots may very well be using the same pot stills (not literally) while concucting their Single Malts and though easily interchangeable, both are quite distinct. They do share similar traits – both need to be a produce from a single distillery, distilled using copper pot stills. However the difference boils down to the contents in the wort. Single Malts using only malted barley while the former using a combination of both malted and un-malted barley.
Back in 1805, Mitchell & Son’s started off as confectioners selling cakes and pastries at their bakery. By the turn of the century, around 1887, they began to distribute wine and sherry much of which were imported from Spain and other parts of Europe. They soon saw potential in their growing stock of empty European oak barrels and began maturing new make spirits from the Jameson’s Bow Street distillery, selling it under their own brand name. The Green Spot then was a ten year Old spirit and the Yellow an older twelve. They did have a younger spirit, the Blue at seven years and the most aged being 15, the Red Spot. It was however the Green that garnered much of the fame and glory with a sliver going to the Yellow and the other expressions falling into oblivion. The “spot” in Green Spot is a novelty on its own; a blotch marked on the barrels to denote its age, which soon became the foundation for which their expressions were named.
Towards the 1960s and 70s, whiskey bonding came to a close and with good reason too. World War II and a spate of tragedies prior forced several distilleries around Dublin to shut shop. Pot Still whiskey was being more of a diminishing commodity forcing Irish Distillers to put an end to the whiskey bonding trade.
With trouble lurking and a threat to the Green Spot fame emanant, Mitchell and Son’s reached into agreement with Irish Distillers wherein the latter agreed to distill, mature and bottle whiskey while the Mitchell’s would continue to have the rights to develop and market them. The limited Pot Still aged stock however meant the demise of many of their “aged” expressions. The Green was and still is very much a Single Pot Stilled whiskey but not one of ten years but instead made of spirits aged between seven and nine. And though it might have shed a few years in the process, it continues to be well revered as an astonishingly splendid spirit that deserves a place in your cabinet (or so they say…).
ABV : 40%
Eyes : Dark Gold
Nose : Initially you are welcomed by a whiff of grass, raisins and caramel toffee. Cream, barley and hints of honey gradually make it’s way to the nose followed by caramelised banana slices, berries and milk chocolate. Toasted wood with sprinkles of nutmeg and pepper gradually begin to shine towards the end.
Taste : Subtle but yet rich, dark caramel sweetness with fruity plum, grapes, butter and dried fruits. Some butterscotch, wood, cloves and a light spice hovers in and around the palate.
Finish: Medium – Fruity yet mildly dry with some spice.
The Green Spot has an oily, velvety texture, which on being left open introduces an array of aromatics – dark fruits with layers of cinnamon. The palate too develops a more creamier side to it, which otherwise isn’t bad but doesn’t reach its full potential. Perhaps the triple distillation or a rather low proof bottling – surely a higher proof expression could have done wonders.
So does the Green hit the spot – Yes! It has quite a bit of depth, reflecting much of its time spent in european casks (25 percent). The whisky carries itself with finesse and a level of complexity that is subtle and isnt too difficult to comprehend. It is a fine whisky where the real star is the nose – hands down! A fluidic spirit that is very smooth, rounded, adequately sweet and can fit nicely be it whatever the occasion or the season without really burning a hole in your pocket.
The Green Spot can hold its ground well enough neat but I would still suggest you do give it that wee bit of time to rather open up and show its self off!